Bell Q1 2015: Growing Postpaid Customer Base Drives Profit up 10%

After Rogers, it was Bell’s turn to report its first quarter earnings. During the first three months of the year the carrier has reported adjusted net earnings of $705 million, up 12.6%; and adjusted net earnings per share of $0.84, up 3.7%. Despite its high ranking in customer complaints — see this report — Bell’s wireless division has recorded strong financial results with 9.7% revenue growth.


You may recall the recent media headlines Bell exec Kevin Crull made as he interfered with the independence of the CTV News press. Since then, Crull has left the company, and more recently Bell introduced a new policy to ensure the journalistic independence of CTV News. The policy was announced today alongside the company’s earnings.

At the request of Mr. Cope, a committee of the BCE Board of Directors was formed to review journalistic independence at CTV News. Comprised of committee Chair Paul Weiss (also Chair of the BCE Audit Committee), Ian Greenberg, Robert Simmonds, Carole Taylor and BCE Chair Thomas O’Neill, and working independently of Bell management, the committee delivered its report to the Board this week. The committee recommended and the Board agreed to implement a policy enhancing the independence of the President of CTV News, and to enhance protection of journalistic independence in the Bell Code of Conduct, which is applicable to all BCE employees.

Bell Wireless started the year in force with revenue at $1.6 billion, up from 1.4 billion in the same period last year. Service revenues rose 8.1% to $1.5 billion, driven growth in the post-paid customer base.

The carrier has added 35,373 new postpaid customers, up 3.7% compared to the 34,104 they gained last year. Therefore, as of the end of March, the total number of postpaid subscribers is 7,145,420 at March 31 2015, up 4.6% from the previous year. The total customer base including prepaid ones grew 2.5%, to 8,102,714.

As the press release highlights, 77% of postpaid customers are now using a smartphone, up from 74% the previous year. Blended ARPU (average revenue per user) was up 5.3% at $60.83, as the number of customers signing a higher-margin 2-year contract rose as the year kicked off.